Microsoft Office 2016 is here

Microsoft has announced the release of Office 2016, the latest iteration of the company's productivity suite. There are a bunch of new features in this release, which is the latest addition to Office 365 service and is also available as one-time purchases for both PC and Mac users. Microsoft will be releasing more regular updates for Office, opting to develop and roll out new features and functionality for subscribers.

One of the major advances for Office 2016 is collaboration with others. The company has implemented its real-time co-authoring (available in web-based apps) into the native suite. You'll be able to work alongside others in Word without a hitch. Skype for Business is also available in the new client apps, which will enable you to communicate and start a new co-authoring session from any conversation/meeting. Pretty neat.

Outlook 2016 alongside the new Outlook Groups feature for iOS, Android and Windows Phone will help keep everyone within a team connected even when on the move. Teams can be made public or kept secure and includes a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage and OneNote notebook. Office 365 Planner aids teams by helping organize workflow with plans, tasks and due dates. Everyone needs to keep track of progress every now and then, right?

Outlook 2016

Those of you who worship Outlook 2016 and receive 10,000 emails on an hourly basis, the latest release of the popular email client provided "the smartest inbox yet". The new app will remove any mail it deems to be low priority, as well as checking to see if recipients have access to modern, cloud-based attachments stored on OneDrive. Speaking of cloud storage, Microsoft has teased "significant updates" for OneDrive for Business, set to arrive later this month.

Previously available in Office Online, Microsoft has added Tell Me and Lookup to the native productivity suite. And when you need to make your charts in Excel look that much more appealing, the 2016 version sports modern-styled designs to help present your data, alongside integration with Power BI to really bring data to life. Fear not if you have to quickly close the laptop as most recently used documents feature spans the Office service to help you pick up where you left off.

Office 2016

Office 2016 delivers enhanced enterprise security and protection with built-in data loss prevention across the productivity suite. Multi-factor authentication ensures employees have secured access to stored content when away from the corporate network, while Enterprise Data Protection will be making an appearance for Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 later this year (with desktop version following in 2016) to bring in secured content sharing.

Oh, and we've come across quite the handy little trick. Should you have automatic subscription renewals turned off, activating them appears to extend your current subscription by a further 30 days, meaning you'll be able to enjoy Office 2016 for a whole month without paying a dime. You'll be able to download Office 2016 today as part of your Office 365 subscription (or a stand-alone purchase for those without the subscription).

Hit "Install" on your My Account page (opens in new tab) and you should be good to go with the installer.

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

81 Comments
  • Seems cool
  • I got a office 365 for my organization? Did same license work?
  • Any office 365 license is valid
  • I'll try on my laptop as soon as I go home
  • I believe your IT admin can determine whether you can upgrade or not.
  • Well, the link "My Account" seems not be working for me, because the sig in form requires an outlook account, while my university account is not an outllook one. How do I deal with that? I cannot download office anywhere else. I got office 2013 for free with this, but now it is not working!      
  • Yep. MSDN has got it too. Got the ISO from there just now. :D
  • When can we expect a review?
  • I'm so excited though I still haven't seen the update.
  • So office 365 update will bring the office 2016 features?
  • Office 365 subscribers will get the Office 2016 desktop apps pushed out through update, or you can go and manually install them again. There will be differences between business and personal plans, but in terms of the apps and main features, you're golden.
  • Thanks Richard, so it's better to have office 365 then, what say?
  • The preview rocked! Why wouldn't I go with ths Released version!
  • Can Microsoft do the same with office like they did for OS? One time fee and then product as a service?
  • Not happening they make alot of money with office 365. You do still have the option to buy a version outright with a few licenses, you will still get updates for that version.
  • I have been testing it for several months now and I really like the new Office. Need to have a look at the smart inbox again though. Not sure if it is enabled on the desktop app by default...
  • Have to agree. I hated it in the past but was really surprised how good the new version is.
  • I live in Outlook 2016, definitely makes inbox management more efficient.
  • Two things i hope they fixed (tablet mode) I'm not sure if this is a windows 10 thing, but when you activate the keyboard the window doesn't resize.  Its a pain in the ass when navigating Excel spreadsheets. After opening up a Word Doc or any other office program.  The keyboard doesn't automatically pop up and allow you to do quick edits.  You have to manually enable them.   They are minor but  i wish they would fix them. 
  • About your second question, if you have a touch device, there's an option somewhere to automatically open the touch keyboard. I don't have a device here right now so I can't tell you the exact place.
  • My preview END is coming soon...
  • Is it not just Office 2016? 
  • Ah! Office University Works :) im updated automatically hehe..
  • Hmmm, "the new app will remove any mail it deems to be low priority" is raising an eyebrow.... It would be kinda career limiting to have those help desk ticket notifications be "deemed a low priority."
  • Ah. We don't need those notifications from those pesky end users anyhow.....who needs em?....
  • I actually was worried about that at first, but I actually LOVE it. 
    It wont' get rid of your desktop tickets.  It's pretty smart, for example in mine, it only deems reoccuring emails that you tend to instantly delete as low priority.  So for example, it instantly moves any annoying after-work committee meeting emails that they send out to the entire office that I usually tend to delete.  It doesn't delete them, but it just moves it to the 'Clutter' folder, and you can delete them there. :)
  • My father still prefers 2003/2007 over these newer versions. He says old ones are essay to use (very basic) and new ones have "too much stuff" on them
  • But once you start using the newer ones you despise going to the older versions. Personal experience.
  • Actually it's most likely due to the ribbon. I can see what his saying as it does take a awhile to get used to the ribbon. Not to mention certain functions aren't where you expect them to be.
  • I was using office 2013 and downgrade to office 2007 none other than that it opens and closes faster without too much of signing ins etc etc. And colour scheme is better to the eyes for me in office 2007.
    Of course I miss some of the PowerPoint functionalities. Other than that especially for Word I like office 2007 better. Let's see what office 2016 bring to the table Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If you struggle to adapt to new UIs, it's hard. There aren't any intuitive UIs, just familiar ones.
  • I also prefer Office 2003 to 2013. If I didn't needed the cloud integration to effortlessly work on several different computers I would probably still be using it.
    Actually, I still have it on a PC for when I need to just write. The new UI's do have a lot of functions but they're cluttered as hell when the fact is, you don't even use 5% of the functions when creating a document. If they made the UI completely customizable it would be a lot better. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • But the ribbon UI is "completely customizable" and you can totally create your own, personalized ribbon. You can even create the legacy menu bar-ish if you really want.
  • I might have to start using outlook, as the native windows 10 app still falls a little short for me :(
  • I wouldn't mind if they release a Microsoft Subscription Pack with Office 365, Xbox Live and Groove Music Pass. 
  • They did for usa and saved 50 dollars, was mift I wanted it in uk!
  • I don't see it on MSDN.
  • 9am Pacific I believe. Saw MJF tweet something to that effect.
  • It is there now, I'm downloading I.
  • At least the tabs aren't all caps now. That was hideous.
  • How can I upgrade from office 2013 to 2016? I'm using 365 Home Subscription.
  • Go into the FILE tab and go to your Office account. On the right side under version there is a way to search for the update. That should do it.
  • I do not get it why I do not get the update by the windows update or office built in updater ?  
  • It doesn't use Windows Update. If you're on Office 365 it may have already updated? If not, be patient. These things can always take time to push out to everyone.
  • I've had the preview of 2016 for some time now, though I've hardly used it. So I can't really speak too intelligently to all its feature benefits over the previous version. However, as superficial and subjective as this is, I think the "look" of the thing, the program-specific deep colored title and menu bar up top is AWESOME! Eye candy, and probably nothing more. Still, I'm quite taken by it!
  • How much for standalone price? 365 is a waste of money.
  • $149.99 for home and students per PC. Office 365 doesn't look that expensive now in comparison, does it? Lol :P. https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fmicrosoft.msafflnk.n...
  • It still is if you don't need Office in more than 1 machine and you don't intend to update Office every year.
    I only replaced my Office 2003 with Office 2013. And I don't plan on updating from Office 2013 until 2023. So yeah, it's a lot cheaper to buy Office once than to use a subscription. Actually...subscriptions are NEVER a good deal for the consumer. If they were, corporations wouldn't use them ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It's dirt cheap compared to the Office Personal subscription.  Look at how little was changed going to Office 2016.  That's 3 years between versions.  Someone who bought Office 2013 Perpetually would have to go out of their way to convince themselves it is worth it to upgrade to Office 2016 by any means - especially a Home User or Student. 3 years of Office Personal is $69 * 3 = $207 before Taxes.   So yea, the $149 for the Personal version of Office Perpetual is cheaper.  It's even cheaper if you see no point in upgrading more frequently then that these days, because really there's no point in upgrading Microsoft Office more than every 5-6+ years.  The apps are functionally maxed out for home/student use and most of the changes are aimed specifically at business and power users.  Why do you think Microsoft went to the Subscription?  The fact that someone could (realistically) use Office 2003 in 2015 and get by just fine, is a serious problem for them if they are selling a boxed product.  Adobe ran into the same issue with Creative Suite applications. Considering LibreOffice is functionally below par to Office 2003 and still perfectly usable, but Office 2003 has better import/export filters (Compatibility Pack)...  Yea, they are going to thrive only because people like you are too ignorant to wipe the fog off of your glasses.  Everyone is giving away tons of cloud storage becvause they know 99.5% of their users won't use more than what others are giving for free.  It sounds and looks better than it actually performs, because the average person doesn't need 1TB of cloud storage and most of those users aren't going to be using 60 minutes of Skype to call anyone, anyways (Lol). The Office 365 Subscriptions are a bad deal unless you have 4+ people in a household that all need licenses, because of the long term costs of renting software and the fact that it just isn't worth your while to upgrade Office for a long time due to how little Microosft actually improves the software from version to version.  Even with that many licenses, it will eventually get to the point where the subscription eclipses the cost of perpetual software.  And the only reason why the Home Subscription looks so good, is because Microsoft completely axed the 3 License Bundles that they had before Windows 8/Office 2013 released back then. Used to be able to get 3 Licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for like $150 and 3 Licenses of Office for about $229 or so. The Subscriptions only look so good, because they completley removed the suprerior perpetual license choices that existed beforehand.  They took away options to make the Subscription option look better.
  • £6 a month for all the office I need and never needing to worry about updating. Plus 1TB of OneDrive. What's waste of money to you is fantastic value for others.
  • Agreed, Richard! I find Office 365 to be quite the deal! There's no way I'm going back to the old method!!
  • 1.  If you don't use OneDrive, then 1TB of OneDrive is not a value, it's a handicap.  Same goes for those Skype minutes. 2.  Office Subscription requires you to maintain a Microsoft Account.  If you don't want an extra account for client-side software, then the perpetual licenses are advantageous in that respect. 3.  Please do not overrate the importance of an office suite the consumer, non-enterprise, non-educational market.  It isn't that important to a home user, and certainly not important enough to spend $70+/year on except to be safe.  And on a Windows Machine they can just install the Universal Apps are previewers/printers if they want to be able to open attachments and things like that.  The free options honestly are the best bet for that market.
  • To n8ter#AC. The free options were very limmited even for my kids homeworks, we are 4 with 3 PCs and one Mac (soon another PC), 3 smarphones (soon to be 4), and and old tablet, we still have spare installations and all get 1Tb each. Office 365 seem almost free to always be updated to the latest versions.
  • Will the 2013 version of the free OneNote be ugraded to 2016?
  • I can't stop the auto-downloading of attachments on outlook 2013(really anoying:(). Hope they fixed it on 2016.
  • I hope they've fixed the issues i'm having with Outlook 2013!!! Won't even send attachments at the moment! #movingtoofast
  • Can you scroll the message content with touch in Outlook now? For some nonsense reason, in Outlook 2013, can only scroll the folder list and message list with touch. Touch is ignored in the message content area, and Microsoft never fixed it all these years. If it's fixed in the 2016 edition, would proudly upgrade to it at their cost...not paying again to get such fundamental feature. Posted from my OnePlus One.
  • I tried to install but it won't let me keep my copy of Visio 2013.  Tells me it's going to uninstall it and it can't be installed again later.
  • Microsoft, and particularly the Office team, has never figured out product versioning.
  • Agreed but that doesn't help me since I need to have Visio.
  • Unbelievably, Office 2016 is not compatible with Skype for Business 2015 so it wants to uninstall it??? This is despite the fact that MS actually announced the previews of these 2 products together as part of their new wave of Office. According to MS support, you have to revert to the old Lync 2013 if you want to upgrade to Office 2016 - and you can only get that by way of a link from MS support - are they for real? What a load of amateurish crap.
  • The real question:  With PowerPoint 2016, can you embed HTML5 content in a slide?
  • Finally its officially here!!! :D
    I really need that Real-Time Co-authoring feature.
  • One gotcha for O365 home subscribers who download the new version, if you use Skype for business separately for work it will not install. Have to use Lync :(
  • I wish there was an offline installer for Office 365. The exe downloaded is only a small file.
  • Icons are smaller. Kind of a bad first impression. :(
  • <p>Any ISO files? The installer cant connect to the internet :( My office 365 subscription is going to waste :/</p>
  • So... updated this mornning. This update breaks OneDrive for Business. I got the notice during the install that OneDrive for Business had to be uninstalled. So I confirmed. I figured I would log back into my Office365.com setting and reinstall a newer version. WRONG! I get an error that what I have is newer than what is trying to be installed and cannot get the business client back on.
  • Presumably this is a deliberate strategy to force businesses to spend money on separate licences for employees who are working from home even if they already have Home subscriptions on their personal devices? If so they can forget it.
  • It's not for business use.  It's against the EULA to use Home SKUs for business.  That's what the Small Business or Professional Edition of Office is for - or Office 365 for Business. Lots of businesses have VLA with Microsoft and can give their employees copies of Office Professional to install on Notebooks or even Home Computers that are used for work.  That isn't an issue for many of them.
  • This "upgrade" displays why so many people stick to old versions of office.  3 years between 2013 and 2016.  There is hardly anything to care about in this upgrade.  It is more of a service pack, instead. If you bought Perpetual Office 2013, it isn't even worth it to upgrade.  Wait for the next version. And it doesn't seem OneNote has recieved anything except a colored title bar. Speaking of which, that's about the only thing that is new and exciting about this update.  It makes Winodws 10 almost bearable to look at - at least while the Office Apps are open and maximized...
  • Does anyone know if there is any real benefit for 2013 over 2016 pertaining to tablet use?  For instance, is it easier to move around, rotate, or change the size of pictures on a word document?  Also, besides the themes that 2016 has (Which I like) what functionality would a home user have in outlook?  I've been trying to figure that out & don't see anything besides like calaborating (Which I wouldn't use) and cloud stuff (Which I'm not that interested in)   Thanks for your thoughts.
  • Unsubscribed and purchased WordPerfect Office X7 Home and Student from Amazon. The font rendering in this version of Office is unforgiveable.  Half a day was enough.  I wish to never see it again. It's jsut horrible.  Even in the font dropdown the fonts look absolutely horrid.  Fonts that were/are smooth before the update are just jagged in this version.  Looks like they're missing pixels compared to what was there before.  Horrible eyesore.  Completely unforgiveable at smaller font sizes and look like skeletons at larger font sizes.  Recipe for eye strain. I like the new light grey with colored window borders, but I cannot stand to look at the fonts.  Basically would hvae to wear sunshades to use my computer because of the headache they induce.
  • I am an avid Onenote user. There is one gross omission on 2016. The scan directly to onenote function is missing.  It is shown on the support articles but its not on the actualprogram. Wow this is a significant function asmany people, like me are moving to paperless. 
  • Seems faster
  • Hi, does anyone know how to roll back from Office 2016 to Office 2013 (auto-updated by Office365)? I really liked the new version but it turns out that my corporate exchange server is not compatible with Outlook 2016. :( Is it still possible to download the earlier version? 
  • Not being able to use your stand alone version of Visio 2013 and Project 2013 seems to be a money grab from Microsoft. Why do I have a license for office 365 when it is forcing me to uninstall purchased software from them? Will Microsoft ever not drop the ball at a launch... When help tells you to install the software on another computer...seriously WTF....
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